How to do Halloween when you can’t be bothered…

Am I the only one that doesn’t adore Halloween? I feel like I’ve grown out of it. Once it becomes socially unacceptable to go and beg for sweets from your neighbours (am I too old for that? Are we sure?) it can get a bit boring.

Of course, there are always opportunities to dress up-parties and events alike, but after last years faff when I turned up to a party having been told it was fancy dress and then NO ONE ELSE WAS DRESSED UP I am far too traumatised to bother this year. (To the friend who knew it wasn’t fancy dress and insisted I still buy that floor length tutu, I still haven’t forgiven you. You know who you are)

So for those of you who would prefer a pampered night in to an all out scary sesh, here are my top tips to having a brilliant alternative Halloween!img_4157

1. Playing around with Halloween make up
With no one judging your costume choice, and no one there to out-do you, why would you not just have a play about? Unicorn, fairy, dark evil queen…the list is endless.

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2. Eat all that chocolate
I mean, this would be easier the day after Halloween when all the chocolate is discounted. But there’s nothing better than curling up with some nibbles and a hot drink on an autumn night….

3. Watch the scariest film you can handle
I’ll be seeing how much of American Horror Story I can stomach, and probably hiding my eyes from the ghouls snuggled into my boyfriend. While he makes fun of me.

4. Crack out the Lush Halloween bath bombs
After all that make up messing, cleanse yourself off with I bought all the lush halloween bath bombs and I need an excuse to use them. Also, how long after Halloween can you really use pumpkin bath bombs? Particularly with Christmas on the way!

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5. Prepare for whichever event you’re ACTUALLY excited for…
Who cares if it’s still October? I’ve been counting down to Christmas since July. (Yes, I’m one of those people)

What are you guys up to this Halloween? Do you love it or loathe it?

Lizzie xo

Songs to warm up with this Autumn

It’s definitely getting colder, isn’t it? Traditionally in our house we have our annual thermostat wars around this time of year. It could be below freezing temperature in mid December and we’d STILL have to have the back door wide open because ‘it’s a beautiful summers day’. I’m the only one who resents this and is shivering in the corner of my bed wearing 2 hoodies and slippers. But hey ho, this year I’ve come up with a new tactic to warm up-dance around my house!

I’ve been delving deeper into my love of Northern Soul music lately, and I have actually been dancing a fair bit to these tracks as a form of procrastination (which I can’t recommend highly enough) so, here they are!

The Night, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (for blasting whilst making dinner)as5

Okay, maybe not *making*..but if you can’t have a chinese in the colder months when can you?!

Turning my heartbeat up, MVP’s (for evenings in with friends)as4

Do I Love You, Frankie Wilson (for dancing around your front room)as3

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? The Shirelles (for cosying up with a cuppa)

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Tainted Love, Gloria Jones (for singing in your bedroom, or the shower, or a bubble bath!)
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So there you have it-the best songs to blast this Autumn. If only to dance around and stay warm! What have you been listening to lately?
Lizzie x

THINGS I STEAL FROM MY BOYFRIEND

Nothing weird or criminal, I promise!

I hate to reinforce the stereotype, but I do tend to steal bits and bobs from my boyfriend and he HATES it. Occasionally, I think he likes it a tiny bit. Take it as a compliment, right?
Sorry Charlie….

1. HIS CLOTHES

Okay, this is incredibly stereotypical. Hoodies, tops, pyjamas, hand them over. Well how can you blame me? Guys hoodies are naturally bigger and fluffier and lovelier. Womenswear brands, take note-if we’re wearing hoodies, we don’t care about fitted or sexy. WE CARE ABOUT SNUGGLY. (And also, they smell so good, swoon)

2. HIS FOOD

Okay, I’m not so bad at this because if I want chips I’m not usually scared to order them. I don’t give a toss if you think I’m eating like a pig. I’ve got chips, who cares? But every so often, I do that “I only want a salad” thing. Okay it’s more of a “I ordered chinese food but I still want your chips” thing. And he doesn’t even get mad. Well, not much. 🙂

3. HIS JOKES

I’m rather against revealing this. My jokes are more than good enough to use in social situations. My relationship is incredibly silly and all we do is laugh together, because we’re both so light hearted. (And yes, he laughs at me and with me just as much as I do with him! Although he’ll never admit the truth which is that I am actually the funniest of the two of us. Obvs.) So occasionally I’ll pinch a joke of his that I thought was ace. If no one laughs, then maybe that’s just a reflection of how funny we both aren’t (likely).

4. HIS SOCKS

This is met with less annoyance than the hoodie situation, because I guess normally it’s cuter when my toes are cold.

5. ALL HIS PILLOWS

And then he grabs them back and attacks me with them. I never learn, and I always lose these pillow fights. But I am 150% comfier for all of about 7 seconds.

6. HIS TV REMOTE

Look, I’m REALLY SORRY that you hate the Kardashians. And I’m REALLY SORRY that when you’re cooking me breakfast I thank you by putting it on your TV so that when you return to your room, you’re met with Kimmy K parading about taking selfies. And no, I’ll never enjoy football as much as you want me to. I really am sorry. But neither of those will ever be as good as marathoning any netflix show with you. 🙂

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Sorry Charlie.

Let me just clarify that Charlie nicks things from me too-let me know if I should share?!

Come on girls, fess up-what do you steal from your boyfriend?

Lizzie xo

THE BLOGGERS HUB X BLOGGERS WHO BRUNCH

Well, I’m pretty excited about this post.

When I first heard that one of my favourite twitter accounts for bloggers, The Bloggers Hub, were holding an event I wasn’t sure if my blog was really big enough or serious enough to go. That might sound really silly. I love blogging, and like many bloggers I’d love to do it full time one day, but I’ve only just gotten into it properly. Imagining a room full of glamazons all judging my teeny weeny following, I decided to go anyway, even if just for the cupcakes. I know, little old me! At a blogging event in London!

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I was right about the room full of glamazons. Wrong, however, about the judgey-ness: most of the bloggers there were of a similar following size to me, and the focus was on smaller bloggers making an impact in the industry. Result! Plus, everyone I met was super friendly and we were obviously all on the same page-excited, a bit nervous, and pretty passionate about taking the best looking Insta photos we could find (obvs).

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Aside from some absolutely stunning cupcakes (and girls) the views from the venue were beautiful-I can’t get over how much effort the team must have gone into to finding and creating the perfect environment for an event like this! The terrace was full of bloggers taking stereotypical candid shots-ahem…img_4095

So now I’ve got my first blogging event done with, I’m super excited to start attending more-meeting like minded people who understand the world you’re working in and attempting to make an impact on was really unlike anything else. Thank you so much to The Bloggers Hub for throwing an amazing event!

For a real insight into how the day went, and what to expect from blogging events like these, check out the vlog I filmed of the day over on my YouTube channel…

Lots of love,
Lizzie xo

HOW TO: Homemade Pumpkin Spiced Latte!

Last year, I made a video on YouTube with a Pumpkin Spiced Latte recipe and this year I’ve had a few people ask me how you make it at home-my method is still largely similar but I’ve improved it slightly in my opinion!img_4010

I am so in love with PSLs (yep, basic I know) but who can afford to buy one everyday from Starbucks? I know there’s stuff I’d much rather be splashing out on in Autumn (Yankee Candles, hello) plus this method makes your house smell amazing.

So if you saw last year’s video (here) you’ll know it was pretty basic (oh how my filming skills have improved. At least I hope so) but this year I would recommend that you make this entire recipe in a slow cooker….just chuck it all in first thing in the morning, and when you’re home after work or school or whatever it will smell GORGEOUS. I would say that anything above 3 hours in the slow cooker will make this little lot burn though, so keep an eye on it if you do decide it needs longer. (If you don’t have a slow cooker, preparing this as I have done in the video is just as good).

You will need:

Pumpkin

Whipped Cream

Pumpkin Spice

Splash of Pepper

2TBSP of Sugar

2TBSP of vanilla extract

50ml of milk (per cup)

Strong Instant Coffee (mixed with water so it’s ready to use-do this just before serving)

Chuck everything (other than the coffee and whipped cream) into the slow cooker and give it a stir-leave it for a few hours to mix and get all lovely smelling. Honestly there is no better smell to fill your house with at Christmas!

After three hours (or longer if you’re braver than me) make some strong instant coffee and put it in your mugs-you only need to make a small amount of this, the main base of the drink will be the latte mix from the slow cooker. Add the latte mix on top (perhaps through a sieve-depending on how small your pumpkin pieces are and if you want them in your drink! I prefer cutting them up quite small initially and then sieveing the mix before serving) .

Serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream and pumpkin spice on top-voila!

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HOW TO: Dogtooth Patterns

dogtooth7When I was 4, I had a Barbie that had the CUTEST dogtooth dress and pink belt and shoes to accessorise. Her whole outfit was on point. I’ve been trying to recreate the look ever since and dogtooth has seriously taken over my wardrobe (even my coat is dogtooth. I just can’t quit).

Dogtooth, in my opinion, is the most beautiful pattern. For me, it’s the perfect way to incorporate my favourite sixties style into more modern looks and it never fails to help create a timeless and classy look. Here, I show you my favourite dogtooth pieces and how I style them-it’s a tricky one to do, but can look gorgeous if you accessorise it well! There are so many other dogtooth pieces on the high street right now (and, let’s be honest, in my wardrobe) and I can’t wait to rock these pieces this autumn.

Enjoy!

Look 1: Classic and feminine

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This high-necked skater dress is my go-to party outfit. It makes such a statement that I don’t usually accessorise it, other than pairing it with some neutral toned heels and possibly a shoulder bag- to carry the talcum powder on nights out to my favourite northern soul do’s! I found this gem in River Island a while back and still depend on it to make a bold statement.

Look 2: Modernised

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For running errands or just chilling out, these cigarette trousers are great. They’re so comfy and the toned down feel gives you the opportunity to add your own twist- like I have here with neutral colours and a bit of bling. A perfect way to wear dogtooth if you don’t want to go full sixties style.

Look 3: Sophisticated Sixties

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This pencil skirt is to die for! I’ve teamed it here with an androgenous-style merc women’s polo top (which was originally a dress I wore at a gig-thanks merc!) to mix things up a bit and I love the final look. By adding a pop of colour with red dolly shoes and lipstick, the skirt doesn’t look too formal-and overall becomes a fun piece to wear, not as corporate looking as you might initially expect! This outfit is one of my go-to’s for a chilled night out at the pub-so classy!

So there’s my quest in attempting to look like a 90’s doll (not really-just dress like one?!) how do you wear dogtooth? What are you looking forward to wearing this autumn?

Lizzie x

Giving Up on a lifelong dream…

If you follow me on any form of social media, you’ll know that my past week or so was spent in Thailand backpacking. I’ve wanted to visit Thailand for pretty much my entire life-the people, the culture, the scenery is all so different from little old blighty that I had to experience it, and since I was 17 I’ve been planning where I would go and what I would do (as well as saving like crazy).

But after arriving in Thailand, meeting and caring for rescued elephants (yes, really-dream come true!) and meeting people who I’ve bonded with quicker than anyone I’ve met before, it was decided I had to come home. Illness can get you anywhere, kids.

ellie.jpgFrom the first day I woke up in Bangkok, my ear was ringing with intense pain and as the days went on, I began to lose my balance and ability to concentrate too. I completed Thai cooking classes thinking I was going to faint at any moment for a solid 4 hours and I was bathing the loveliest elephant in the world with an intense pain bothering me and attempting to ruin things the whole time.

People on the trip had mentioned that I seemed quite shy-something I’m not often told. It’s just that it’s hard to play loud drinking games and get involved with people when a) you feel like death b) you can’t drink alcohol because you’re on medication. After a week in Thailand I’d been to hospital 3 times and the doctor laughed when I asked him if I could do the activities I had planned.

So my decision was this: stay in Thailand, do no activities during the day (not even a walk through the jungle) and not really be able to socialise at night. Or change my flight, and come home. Did I really want to remember this lifelong dream as one where I felt ill? Where I couldn’t be myself because I felt so weak? As the holiday I never intended on having? Then again, was going home giving up-giving in to a bit of nervousness, or was it deciding to heal myself?

For days I couldn’t figure this out, but it became clear I had to leave. After a very panicked enquiry into whether I could actually come home (hospital bills, insurance, money transfers to change tickets) I got it all sorted and then just had to begin the 34 hour trek home. All whilst feeling like I couldn’t stand up.

The thing is, this was obviously not what I saw happening to me in Thailand. being incredibly ill, in a room 8000 miles from home, panicking about your next move when you’re all alone is the scariest most adult thing I’ve had to do. It was awful, but I learnt so much from it.

I have flown into a country all on my own. I have met elephants. I have seen temples and a culture I have never seen before. I have learnt a more respectful way of life. I have seen how privileged I am. I have become ill and been brave enough to get myself well. I have established the difference between running away and going to heal myself. I have realised what I want from Thailand in the future. I have been all alone, in a massive group, and with individuals and enjoyed myself. I have been all alone, in a massive group and with individuals and hated every second. I have understood what I need and who I am more. My eyes have been opened about Thai people and British people, the similarities between myself and those people, and the differences and what they mean. I learnt and enforced my boundaries. I got what I wanted from this trip and discovered what I needed, and what I will want in the future. I am immensely proud of all I have achieved here, and I know myself so much better for it.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”💕

5 Career Values I’m Living By

In an industry like the music industry, or blogging, or anything that puts you infront of an audience, there are certain compromises you have to make with yourself. With so many people taking money for pre-written posts, or dancing nearly naked in music videos, it can be a baffling situation when you are presented with an opportunity that forces you to abandon your beliefs. Doing the things I’ve mentioned isn’t deemed wrong by everybody, and if you’re happy to do those things to better your career, then by all means, go for it! No matter what the context, regret will come when you forget your values just to earn a bit of cash (or attention). That’s why I’ve got 5 values I’m sticking to before I even get the chance to disregard them, and here they are: (these are just for me. You can do them if you’re alright with it!)

1. Never lie to your audience.

Singing songs I hate on stage, or reviewing something on my blog telling my readers I loved it when in actual fact it caused nothing but nightmares, or buying followers just seems odd to me. If my content is in any way dishonest, then it won’t be good quality in the first place and my audience certainly won’t gain anything useful from it. Why lie? I would rather sing a song I love and have no one listen than have the whole room listening to me singing something I hate and therefore, sing badly. Also telling anyone that a product is good when really it gave you a rash is just bad ethics.

2. Prioritise quality over everything else.

“Make sure you post every day/week” “what’s the point if you have no followers” “there’s nothing interesting in this vlog but at least I posted something!”

Yuck.

Sorry gang. I hate these phrases. Why would I send you anything below par? Why would I put my name on anything I’m not proud of? I’ve uploaded YouTube videos with the “that’ll do, because it’s Friday and I have to upload this NOW” attitude in the past. It gets you nowhere. People don’t enjoy it, you get embarrassed, and worse, people will think that your most mediocre work is the best you can do. You’re only as strong as your weakest link, people! (So, sorry, you might have to wait for a Youtube cover for a second. Because I could either get my equipment fixed and record my keyboard skills, or I could use a crappy backing track but only show you my voice. Na mate, just sit tight)

3. Never, EVER, use your body to get attention

Likes are ephemeral, and looks fade. Hard work and attitude doesn’t. The careers (and sadly, reputations) of so many girls are ruined just by getting their body out on Instagram or in a music video. This shouldn’t be the case, but thats something for another day. The world we live in now could absolutely destroy any chances I have for a quick fix of a few more followers or views. Plus, I hate sexualising myself in the way I dress. Lots of girls enjoy it and that’s cool! I just have never felt anything but uncomfortable in a short dress or low cut top, so doing that for my career seems pointless in every way. I’m perfectly alright with singing songs fully clothed.

4. Every time you want to give up, success is just around the corner

Okay, so this isn’t a VALUE as such, but its a mantra that I certainly think has some weight to it. It may not be scientifically true, and success has not necessarily just been magically waiting for everyone who ever gave up. The point is when you give up, success is not ever going to be there. So hang in there, and when you feel down, have a cuppa before giving things one more go.

5. Don’t compromise who you are or where you came from.

Not worth it, whatsoever.

What do you think? Where do you draw the line with your career? Let me know in the comments!

Lizzie x

Vinyl Revival

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Ever notice how music is always trying to be fresh, new, unique, but pay respects to the icons of the past at the same time? It’s a beautiful contradiction that I love.

I was talking to an established marketer working with a really well known recording studio (more to come on that very soon!) and he said he was bewildered by the revival of records in popular culture. Why, after so many years of minimising the fuss that surrounded playing records and with the introduction of cassettes, CDs and digital music that requires no physical purchase at all, have so many decided that actually, records are just cooler?

Well, that’s it, I think. Gone are the days when dismissing your dad’s pink floyd record seemed cool and effortless. Now we’re chasing them up (particularly me, as I did exactly this last week) and embracing the retro feel that comes with it. New and fresh is boring and too mass produced-the lesser known the band, the older the tracks, the better received your attempts will be.vinyl3

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Now, I’m planning trips across the country with friends to source my favourite tracks from the 60’s. I’m insanely jealous of DJs I know that get to travel to America and find records to bring home and play. I still listen to the charts, but in terms of purchasing music, I just don’t bother with the newer stuff at the moment. I’ll listen, i’ll enjoy, i’ll learn as much as I can from it, but I’d much rather have a physical product I can hold and hear aspects of the original recording on rather than click on a screen and get a mass produced file for 99p. The prices of records are higher, but it’s so worth it. (Also, if you’re lucky enough to have a dad like me who collected a load of awesome records, you can pinch them occasionally.)

Here’s a few of the records I’ve been listening to lately (from artists that span over a few decades and genres!) what’s your opinion? Records, digital music, or something else?

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Much Love,

Lizzie x

The Importance of Live Music

The weirdest thing I’ve ever been told is that Live Music is not important in the music industry.

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The strangest thing is that this came from someone who is a teacher at a really well known music college. How many aspiring musicians has she told that to? How many have believed her?
After running very fast from that college, I evaluated how wrong that advice is. There is not one musician who hasn’t benefitted from live music in some way. It can teach you so much, and it’s fun too!

Live Music-The Best Bits

1) Facing your fears is the healthiest thing for you

It’s so easy to live in fear if you want to be part of the music industry. Fear that you’re not good enough or ever will be, fear that people will laugh you off stage. But the biggest fear I’ve ever felt is that I’ll miss the chance. I’m 20 now, which is actually kinda old in the music industry. So last night I bit the bullet and sang live, entirely on my own at an open mic night. I’ve played a load of gigs, I’ve been to a load of open mic nights, and I’ve done performances on my own before, and before last night I’d never played keyboard live in my whole life. Well, now I have and I feel great! I made some mistakes and I was paralysed with fear in parts but I played the whole of each song and the crowd were so lovely and supportive. Yay!

2) You’ll meet some of the loveliest people

If you’re a music nut, then the absolute best place to meet people you’ll get on with is at gigs, open mic nights, showcases etc. Some of my best friends are people I’ve met in this way, and since becoming friends with these kind of people I’ve learnt a lot and figured out what I wanted for myself. It’s also so inspiring to see your friends doing well, and for them to see your journey too-if they’re fellow musicians they’ve been through it all before and want you to do well!

3) It exposes you to new genres of music

If you want to find out about more music, go to an open mic night. Google ones near you NOW and just go. You tend to get performers there who are edgier than you’ll meet elsewhere, and they know about the cool local musicians and bands you can hear. At an open mic night you’ll hear songs you know and songs you don’t, which is fun! You can never stop learning when it comes to new music.

If I haven’t convinced you so far, then there’s no hope for you. I’ve learnt so much recently thanks to live music (both watching and performing) whether that’s on my own or singing with other musicians and bands, and I want you to go out and find something similar! Just do it, you know you want to.

Much love as always,
Lizzie x